We make hundreds of decisions everyday of our life and most of them are relatively easy to manage, however there are times in life, such as making career decisions, where making a choice is made difficult due to a higher level of uncertainty, complexity and specific consequences that they may have. The fear of making a wrong career decision can often be a reason for putting off thinking about your career in the long term or undertaking a risky strategy that is based on something just ‘turning up’. It is times like these that having some thinking models/tools to guide your decision making can support you to confidently make good decisions. These tools can help you to identify and manage risk and implement a realistic plan to turn your decision into an action.
Core to decision making is the ability to research, analysis, make lists of criteria and plan. There are lots of decision making tools available to help you consider your options. One such tool is:
Undertaking A Systematic Approach to Decision Making….. this is a logical, step by step approach. It will help you to address the critical elements that result in making a good decision. By taking this stepped approach, you’re less likely to miss important factors or rush into making the decision first without considering all the options. There are six steps within this model:
- Define the situation: As if you are telling a story, write out the particulars of your career planning thus far. What careers have you identified and what has led you to this point? What motivations, skills, special aptitudes and abilities do you have? Is there a deadline for making your career decision? etc..
- Generate as many career alternatives as you can: What is your plan A, B and C for your career? Write down everything that comes to mind, and then look at your list carefully. Are any of your options totally unrealistic? If so, cross these off.
- Evaluate each career choice: List the positive and negative consequences associated with each career option . When considering pros and cons, think about your most important personal values (i.e. how will you feel about working in a certain career area, can you image yourself working in that environment/job/sector? and considering how your skills, abilities and qualifications match to it.
- Choose the best career option: After you have carefully evaluated the alternatives, choose between them. Select the best option by identifying the one that contains the highest match to your personal values, motivation and skills.
- Implementing your career option: Create an action plan in which you seek appropriate support and career resources and set a timeline in motion so that you can act on your decision and reach your career goal.
- Assess the outcome: If your career decision turns out to be the right one, think about what worked and why. If your career decision doesn’t work out – consider what you learned and what you can take to the next opportunity.
This tool works best when you keep an open mind, record all you thoughts down and have undertaken some career research beforehand to guide your approach. Once you have undertaken your career decision it can be helpful to talk through your choice with a careers adviser to help you plan your next step.
If you would like to find out more about other career decision tools and how to use them the GSA Career service will be running a ‘Making good career decisions’ session on Wednesday 29th January 2014 4-5pm Bourdon lecture theatre. It would be lovely to see you there!